Men’s Basketball drops in final minute to OCU, fall to 9-12 on the year

Pioneers are now 4-9 in River State Conference play, currently sit outside playoff spot

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team dropped a nail biter on Saturday, Feb. 5, falling to River State Conference (RSC) rival Ohio Christian University 65-64 at home. The Pioneers now stand at 9-12 on the season, with a 4-9 record in conference play this year. The loss also drops the team to fifth in the standings, with only five games remaining to try and reach for the final playoff spot in the RSC East division.

It was Point Park’s return to their home court on Saturday, playing at CCAC-Allegheny for the first time this season after an ever changing home court situation. The matchup started off with a quick two buckets for the Trailblazers, which senior guard Sherron Schifino responded to with a three. Point Park would then take the lead with 15 minutes remaining, thanks to a hot streak of three treys from the hands of Schifino. Ohio Christian wouldn’t go away so easily though, keeping the game from getting out of hand, and finally taking back the lead with 4:40 remaining in the first half. The Trailblazers would hold their lead into the half, taking a 35-32 lead over the Pioneers heading into the second half.

The second half was a hotly contested start, with the two teams trading buckets and eventually leads, until OCU broke away to a nine point lead after going on a 12-0 run with 10 minutes remaining. A timeout got Coach Lewandowski the time and speech he needed to get his players back on track, with Point Park coming out and scoring the next to buckets, and slowly clawed their way back into the game once again. With three minutes remaining, down by five, back to back jumpers by junior guard Eddie Flohr, and two free throws by sophomore center Jagshaanbir Singh Jhawar helped put the Pioneers up by one with a minute-and-a-half remaining.

OCU would miss their next shot, and Point Park would get an opportunity to put themselves even further ahead with foul shots. Sadly, neither were converted, and with 15 seconds remaining, the Trailblazers made a layup to put them ahead by one. With no timeouts to call, Point Park would try and drive the ball down court, and a last-second miss by Flohr would end up sealing the game for the Pioneers, falling 65-64.

Point Park and Ohio Christian were almost the same in every way in the stat sheet, with the Pioneers nailing 43% of their shots from the floor in comparison to the Trailblazers’ 45%. Neither team could really get the three ball working either, with Point Park only making 25% of their shots from downtown, while OCU knocked down 26% of their threes. The only big difference was the excellent 80% Point Park shot on their free throws in comparison to the 60% Ohio Christian made from the charity stripe. Schifino would lead the team in scoring once again, dropping a game high 24 points while shooting over 50% on the night and bringing down five rebounds. Flohr was right behind him with 19 points and three steals in the losing effort. Jhawar would come off the bench with 9 points and a game high 14 rebounds and six blocks.

The loss now puts Point Park in a tough spot to make a playoff run, being two games out of third with only five games remaining in the season. Their next matchup would be on the road against RSC rival WVU Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and will be followed up with another home matchup on Saturday, Feb. 12 against the University of Rio Grande. The Pioneers will finish up the week with a road trip the next day to play Bryant & Stratton-Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York on Sunday, Feb. 13. The location for the home game will be announced on the Point Park athletics website, as well as how to watch the games online for those that want to stream the matchups.